Yee, haw! Bull-riding for bucks (and bucks) is harder than it looks

Me before the fall (more pics after the jump)

Being atop of a mechanical bull in the middle of Cowboys Stadium is no place for a fat, middle-aged gay man to be on a Wednesday afternoon. But there I was yesterday, risking life and ego for eight seconds of possible glory.

The idea was a valid one: Raise money ($2,500 for first place; $1,000 for second) for my charity of choice. I chose two beneficiaries: Legal Hospice of Texas, for which I am committed to raising $500 by the middle of next month; and Mercy for Animals, because I thought it would be cool to give an animal rights group money for basically abusing a cow. (Since it was mechanical, it didn’t really count as animal exploitation, although Eddie Garza, MFA’s Texas coordinator, said he’d take the donation even if it were on a real bull — and he seemed unconcerned that my body would be the one taking the real beating.)

Cowboys Stadium is a charmless cavern when there are no events taking place other than something as small as this one, though admittedly, the lack of crowds was nice. On the huge screens play a continuous loop of Dallas Cowboys highlights, all of them winning plays — in other words, none from last season. Ten days earlier, the eyes of the world were focused on this billion-dollar temple to excess; today, the field looks like the parking lot of an abandoned strip mall. Gone is the Astroturf, revealing ugly concrete underneath where dirt is being shipped in. The rodeo will be there this weekend, and they need to dust it up.

That’s kinda what we’re all here for. Dickies is sponsoring, again, a media mechanical bull-riding challenge, where members of the press are invited to a bracketed elimination competition to see which pencil pusher can claim, briefly, some degree of athletic prowess. And they asked me to participate.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 01.21

Get Max-ed out on pop art

Despite painting presidents and celebrities, artist Peter Max will verge either on blasphemy or on genius when his work shows here. Using Dallas Cowboys and Texas Longhorns football helmets as canvases, Max applies his vibrant colors to iconic Texas images. We say “awesome.”

DEETS: Wisby-Smith Fine Art, 500 Crescent Court. Through Jan. 30.

Saturday 01.22

A voice as smooth as silk

Yes, Johnny Mathis might be the stuff parents or grandparents are made of, but give him another  listen. He hasn’t been at this for more than five decades because he’s a slouch. The quietly out Mathis is a crooner and class act right up there with Tony Bennett, but without the retro appeal and MTV specials. He must have some appeal because we hear this show is sold out.

DEETS: Bass Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. 8 p.m. $29–$80.

Friday 01.28

There is more than ‘Brokeback’

Annie Proulx captured the soul of gay love with  her story ‘Brokeback Mountain’ that originally appeared in the New Yorker. Other works have garnered attention but she’s back with her first nonfiction book, Bird Cloud, which she’ll discuss at Arts & Letters Live in Horchow Auditorium.

DEETS: Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St. 7:30 p.m. $37.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 21, 2011.

—  John Wright

Beefy Cowboys tonight at the Round-Up on Monday Night Football

Dallas Cowboys need you more than ever

Jason Whitten

Let’s face it, this isn’t a great season for the Cowboys and it’s just not looking good for Super Bowl dreams. Going into tonight’s game against the New York Giants with a 1-4 record just hurts to think about. But, with Rangers fever running rampant, maybe some of that winning spirit will transcend over to Cowboys Stadium. The Giants are coming off a three-in-a-row winning streak but we hear some buzz on the Interwebs that the Cowboys are favored for tonight. Time to cash in on those miracles we’ve been praying for.

Otherwise, go Rangers!

DEETS: Round-Up Saloon, 3912 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. Airs on ESPN.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Dan Hampton apologizes for Katrina, ‘Brokeback’ comments on ‘Pro Football Weekly’

On Monday we called NFL hall-of-famer Dan Hampton an idiot for saying that the Dallas Cowboys were more “Brokeback” than “Eastwood,” and that the Vikings needed to hit New Orleans “like Katrina.” In the above clip from this week’s “Pro Football Weekly,” Hampton agrees. “I’m an idiot, and I’m truly sorry,” he says.

—  John Wright

NFL analyst Dan Hampton to apologize on the air to the gays — but probably not the Cowboys

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation reports that “Pro Football Weekly” co-host Dan Hampton is set to apologize on the air this week for a homophobic comment he made last week, when he said the Dallas Cowboys are more “Brokeback” than “Eastwood.” Hampton apologized Monday night for another offensive comment, in which he suggested that the Minnesota Vikings need to “hit that town like Katrina” when they play the New Orleans Saints on Thursday. From GLAAD’s blog:

Hampton publicly apologized for the Katrina gaffe, but has not yet addressed the Brokeback comment. Pro Football Weekly publisher Hub Arkush told GLAAD that Hampton will be leading this weekend’s show with an on-air apology for both statements. Arkush said “it shouldn’t have happened” and assured GLAAD that similar incidents will not happen again.

No word on whether Hampton plans to apologize to the Cowboys, who undoubtedly will perpetuate the homophobia by using his comment as bulletin-board material.

—  John Wright

Surge in homophobic comments on the air can only mean one thing — it’s football season!

Dan Hampton, a Hall of Fame defensive lineman who now apparently works as an analyst for the MSG Network, used a homophobic metaphor to disparage the Dallas Cowboys on the air over the weekend.

“The Cowboys think they’re Clint Eastwood,” Hampton says in the above video clip. “They’re more of the Brokeback variety if you know what I’m talking about.”

Hampton’s co-host responds by saying, “No I don’t, please explain.”

Instead of explaining the Brokeback comment, Hampton goes on to make an even more offensive one. Referring to an upcoming game in which the New Orleans Saints host the Minnesota Vikings, Hampton says, “The Vikings need to go down there and hit that town like Katrina.” (Video is below.)

What an idiot. Let’s hope MSG cans Hampton by the close of business Tuesday. If they do, we’re sure it will be mostly because of the Katrina comment. After all, homophobia is probably encouraged on these stupid shows to boost ratings.

UPDATE: Hampton has apologized for the Katrina comment on Pro Football Weekly, but not for the homophobic remark about the Cowboys.

—  John Wright

Elton John's partner on why he accepted invite to perform at Rush Limbaugh's wedding

Sir Elton John
Sir Elton John

Last Tuesday, Tammye Nash wondered why Elton would sing at Rush’s wedding.

Today, People magazine gave us the answer.

Speaking for his partner, David Furnish said, “Life is about building bridges, not walls.”

Furnish said Elton was surprised to receive the invitation. When he realized it was sincere, he saw it as an opportunity “to go where people wouldn’t expect me to go.”

While John reports that he got along just fine with the couple, Limbaugh apparently tried to counterbalance John’s appearance with his choice of officiating pastor.

Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Ken “the Hutch” Hutcherson, the anti-gay pastor at Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Wash., performed the ceremony, according to Seattle Weekly. Hutcherson was one of the leading campaigners to recall the state’s domestic partnership law. That recall failed and domestic partnerships remain in place in Washington state.

—  David Taffet

Cowboys draft pick Dez Bryant gay-bashes his loving mom with the help of The Morning News

Angela Bryant used to drive eight hours from Lufkin, Texas, to Stillwater, Okla., to watch her son Dez Bryant’s games when he was a standout wide receiver at Oklahoma State University. She once took an 18-hour bus ride to see Dez play his first college game in Georgia.

Now that Dez is a top NFL prospect, what does his loving mother get in return? Well, for one, she gets the privelege of being gay-bashed by Dez with the help of The Dallas Morning News. In this column published last week, DMN columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor repeatedly states that Dez Bryant had to overcome his mother’s decision to “change” her sexual orientation.

According to Cyd Ziegler Jr. at, the original version of Taylor’s column used the term “sexual preference,” until Ziegler contacted The DMN and got them to replace it with “sexual orientation.” Of course, the column still uses the word “change,” so what’s the difference? Ziegler said he found it “shocking” that the sports staff at a major daily newspaper wouldn’t know better than to use “sexual preference,” but for those of us who read The DMN regularly, this isn’t at all surprising. Anyhow, back to Dez Bryant, who had this to say about his mom being a lesbian:

“I didn’t like it. Really, I still don’t,” he said. “I dealt with it and now I’m comfortable with it.”

First of all, who gives a shit what a football prospect thinks about something like this? It’s totally irrelevant, and sadly it appears as though The DMN and Dez are trying to use Angela’s sexual orientation as an excuse for his problems (Dez Bryant was once  suspended in college for lying to NCAA officials).

Who knows, maybe Bryant was worried that Angela’s sexual orientation would hurt his draft prospects, and he felt the need to solidify his anti-gay credentials. Maybe it paid off when the Cowboys selected Bryant with the 25th overall pick in the draft two days later.

It’s a shame, though, because it’s actually a great story. Angela gave birth to Dez when she was only 15, and she later served time in jail for selling crack cocaine. But Dez, who has no relationship with his father, has managed to overcome his tumultuous childhood to succeed on the field, and in the process he’s managed to mend his relationship with his mom. It’s a great story that The New York Times actually did two years ago, and it’s a shame that Dez and The DMN had to go and ruin it.

—  John Wright

Blowing up Texas Stadium is a waste of an area asset for the benefit of one person

Texas Stadium was purposely destroyed so that the City of Irving had no choice but to blow it up. It remains a giant billboard hanger until its Sunday implosion.
Texas Stadium was purposely destroyed so that the City of Irving had no choice but to blow it up. It remains a giant billboard hanger until its Sunday implosion.

I love blowing up a building as much as the next person, but the demolition of Texas Stadium in Irving this weekend just pisses me off.

Since buying the team, Jerry Jones spent little on upkeep of the property. By running the stadium into the ground, he forced the area to build him a new one. By the time the team left, Texas stadium was an eyesore.

When Arlington won the bidding war, after Dallas refused to hand over as much taxpayer money as he wanted, the destruction of the Irving property seemed to accelerate.

Irving originally had some wonderful plans for the property — extend the canal from Las Colinas, build apartments and offices and hotels in a park-like setting.

Now we learn that after the stadium is blown up, the property will be used to stage the expansion of Airport Freeway for the next seven years!

The Eyesore in Irving will give way to an even bigger blot.

Surely, the stadium could have been saved and plenty of uses for it could have been found. Yes, scheduling concerts and high school and college football games here would have cut into Jerry Jones’ and Arlington’s profits. Yes, it have cost some money to renovate the property that the Tarrant County Cowboys’ owner destroyed. But blowing it up costs money too. (And yes, I believe that if the team isn’t in Dallas County or the City of Dallas, they should pay us royalties on the use of “Dallas.”)

Although maybe the interior destruction of the facility’s infrastructure was even more significant than the exterior’s deterioration. If that’s the case, a nice big bill should have been sent to Jones.

Am I really getting sentimental about Texas Stadium? No. I just dislike this sort of unnecessary waste. But most people in the area do have their memories of it.

My best memory of Texas Stadium? We filmed the Season 1 finale of “Friday Night Lights” here because the Alamodome (much closer to “home-base” Austin, where most of the series is filmed) was not available. And shameless plug: Season 4 begins airing on NBC on May 7. Filming for season 5 gets underway in Austin this month.

—  David Taffet

Dallas Voicers bring Cowboys/Eagles rivalry to the office

Robert Moore, left, keeps it real while John Wright prepares for disappointment.

We had our own tailgate party this afternoon rooting our Cowboys on to victory over the Eagles in the playoff game Saturday. We noshed on chicken wings (Eagles? wings? Get it?) and Cowboys cake (Jason Whitten? Get it? Yyyyeah, you do.) to get us in the spirit. The hanging pom-pomed chickens also helped with visions of Super Bowl rings back in these parts.

But, of course, we had to have one blatant dissenter. News editor John Wright came in today boasting his Donovan McNabb jersey. Ballsy move, John Wright, ballsy move. You’ll see clearly, publisher Robert Moore, left, keeps it real while Wright prepares for disappointment.

Go Cowboys!

—  Rich Lopez